B Page -- April 7, 2010

Emily Oliver ...

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Oliver has always been an outstanding student and athlete and is just beginning to reach her potential according to B-W Multi-Event Coach Eric Schmuhl.

"Emily has consistently progressed toward becoming a national caliber heptathlete," said Schmuhl, in his second year back at his alma mater as the main assistant under Taraschke. "She has improved her marks without bias toward one particular event. Just as her hurdle times have fallen, her shot put and 800 meter marks have improved. The type of training required to achieve this balanced improvement is very difficult to manage, but she does it well."

Oliver also knew that she owned the potential to be an elite track competitor in multi-event competition.  The combination of coming from a family of competitors, her father, Roger, has participated in a number of marathons, including the renown Boston Marathon, and her sister, Erin '08, also participated in cross country and track.

"I come from a family that likes to run," said Oliver, speaking of her father and sister. "My dad looks at running as working toward a goal. He looks at the marathons and races that he competes in as a reward for all of his training.  I also look at it that way too."

Oliver also feels that each of her coaches in high school and now at B-W have contributed to her success.

"During high school, my coaches told me they thought I had high potential, although I did not compete in a state meet," said Oliver, who is one of the vice presidents of enrollment for the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority on campus. "When I came to B-W, the coaches here said the same thing, and I wanted to see for myself what I was capable of accomplishing."

The family aspect also played a role in Emily Oliver choosing B-W collegiately.

"B-W actually was not one of my top choices," said Emily. "My senior year of high school, I thought I might want to attend pharmacy school and was nearly committed to another school. When I decided I wanted to study chemistry, my options broadened.

"My sister was a junior at B-W at that time," continued Oliver. "I came to visit her and was introduced to the college. I knew having a year here with her would make me feel more comfortable, and she was able to share with me good things about both the academic and athletic programs.

"I knew that I wanted to participate in track and field and cross country at the time, but the first time I ever spoke with Coach Taraschke wasn't until the day I moved onto campus for my first semester.  I am happy here and cannot imagine myself anywhere else. My memories and experiences both academically and athletically have been some of the best. The track program is outstanding and one of a family atmosphere that I cannot be any more proud to be a part of."

Schumuhl returned to B-W during Oliver's sophomore year and believed in her from the start.

"Her strength is in the hurdles, high jump and sprints," said Schmuhl. "Her weakest event has been the javelin, but she has more than doubled her mark since her freshman season, so progress continues to be made. When you don't come from a background of volleyball, basketball or softball, the striking action of any throwing event is tough to learn.

"Even though Emily has scored a career-high 4,130 points, I feel the field will be very deep this year and it more than likely will take a score of 4,300 points just to get into the national meet.  Emily is definitely capable of reaching that mark.

"Her track IQ is one of the best I've ever worked with and it shows in practice and competition," continued Schmuhl. "Her ability to understand what her body wants and needs to better her practices and competitions is very unique. She has built her routines around those instincts."

"I used to be one who always listened to and did whatever a coach wanted without question," said Oliver, who will join her Yellow Jacket teammates this Saturday, April 10 when they participate at the annual Marv Frye Invitational Meet at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware. "But now, I ask myself why do we do things the way we do. I have learned the relationship between power, strength, and speed based practices by routine and question."

Erin Oliver also thinks her sister has a special ability to adapt and compete.

"Emily never gives up and somehow understands that it will be worth it in the end," said Erin Oliver, who is a chemist for PPG Industries. "Whether she is training for a race or struggling to understand her chemistry material, she works tirelessly and consistently to achieve her goals and master that skill."

That is where her ability to use her time management skills are key.

"I have to manage my time efficiently between academics and athletics," said Emily Oliver. "Academics are my first priority with track close behind, so I often make worthwhile sacrifices of social activities.

"Following graduation, I hope to obtain a career in the chemical industry," continued Oliver. "With a chemistry degree, I would enjoy working in a lab or performing research. I am undecided as to a specific area of chemistry I would like to focus on right now."

Before that happens, Schmuhl and Oliver have a few more things to prove.

"Emily is proof that in NCAA Division III athletics, an average beginning student-athlete who comes into a program can earn a spot in the national championship field through hard work and passion for their event," said Schmuhl. "Emily came to B-W with a very average track resume and has exhausted all means necessary to become an NCAA qualifier."

With May 27-29 as her focus, you can bet that more good things will happen for Emily Oliver.

In addition to the NCAA National Meet at B-W, the Yellow Jackets host the annual Paul "Sparky" Adams Invitational Meet on April 24 in Berea. Field events begin at 10:00 a.m.

CSU Softball ...

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"We just took care of business today and that is a good sign," CSU head coach Angie Nicholson said. "In the past we have some times failed to hit the way that we are capable of when we have played a team that we should do well against. I thought we were aggressive at the plate and on the bases today and it showed in the results.

After Detroit had taken a 1-0 lead on a Erica Houthhoofd solo home run, the Vikings bounced back to tie the game in the bottom of the frame when Tess Sito had a two-out single, stole second and came into score on a single by Lia Gordon. The stolen base was Sito's team leading 27 of the season and 14th straight without being caught.

CSU made it 3-1 in the second when Jessica Burt singled with runners at first and second to drive in Amy Powellwith Macall Sheppard coming in to score when the ball was misplayed by the Titan right fielder. 

The Vikings added three more runs in the third.

Lia Gordon led off with a double and came around to score on a two run homer by Katelyn CiminelliDara Toman followed with her eighth home run of the year, a blast to left center, to put CSU ahead, 6-1.

CSU blew the game open when it strung five hits together to score seven runs in the fourth.

Megan Bashak began the scoring by driving a double to left center to score Jessica Burt. After a walk to Sito, Gordon singled to center to load the bases. Ciminelli followed with a two-run double. After a Detroit pitching change, Dara Toman drove in Gordon on a ground ball to third and was safe when the third baseman couldn't come up with the ball for an error.

With the bases load later in the inning, Burt singled to left to drive in Toman and Bashak followed with a two-run single to center to finish the scoring.

Melissa Barrett added an RBI single in the top of the fifth to make the final 13-2.

Macenko, who allowed just one hit in 11 innings of work on Tuesday, was not as sharp but still managed to limit the Titans to two runs on four hits, striking out eight with just one walk to improve to 19-8 on the season.

Amanda Macenko


The eight strikeouts gives Macenko 191 for the season and 883 for her career, leaving her 26 strikeouts shy of Amy Kyler's career record of 909 strikeouts set from 1993-97.

"Amanda wasn't at her best today, but you have to give her credit because she battled very hard to get the win. She wasn't going to let up at any point," Nicholson said.

Ciminelli was one of the CSU hitting stars for the day, going two-for-three with a run scored and four RBIS while Megan Bashak continued her recent hot streak by going two-for-four with a run scored and three RBI.

Sito, who went one-for-two with two runs scored, registered the 50th hit of her career. She also moved into seventh place on the season list with her 32nd run scored, leaving her five runs short of the school record of 37 set by Christa Coppus last year.

The Vikings remain at home over the weekend, hosting Wright State for a three-game series that starts with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday (April 10) and a single game at 12:00 noon on Sunday (April 11).

Lake Erie softball ...

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That lead would be short-lived, however, as the Dragons (18-10) scored the next eight runs in the game to take an 11-4 lead.

Lake Erie tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth inning as Jessica Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Whitehall) drove in Jamie Wodecki (Northfield, Ohio/St. Peter Chanel) on a sacrifice fly. Haley Rathge (Edon, Ohio/Napoleon), who doubled earlier in the inning, would score on a wild pitch to make it 11-6.
Tiffin added three more in the seventh for the final margin.
Pennell finished with three hits – two doubles – in the first game and Tanski added a pair, including a double.
The Dragons scored three runs each in the first and second innings, but unlike in game one, the Storm was unable to get back into the game in the early going.
Lake Erie got on the board in the third inning after loading the bases with two outs on a single and a pair of walks. Rathge delivered the knock, a ground-rule double to right-center, that scored two runs. Tiffin’s Lexie Pinkleman was able to escape the jam, getting a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Tiffin added six more runs in the final two innings that put the game away.
Finkler was the only player with two hits in the second game.
Lake Erie will have a couple days off before returning to the field on Saturday (April 10) when the Storm will host West Liberty at 1 p.m.

IFAF logo small

IFAF Convention ...

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"The IFAF Congress is an important and strategic date on the IFAF calendar and continues to have a growing impact on our sport and business," said IFAF President TOMMY WIKING. "The opportunity for federations to meet face-to-face ensures the voices and opinions of our members are heard and we are excited to bring the leaders of international American football to Australia for the first time."


The IFAF Executive Committee will meet on April 8 and official Congress business will be administered on April 9 to include individual elections and IFAF membership applications from national federations that govern the game in their respective countries. 


On April 9 and 10 delegates will receive presentations and hold group discussions focusing on the IFAF Education Development Program and elements of female participation centering on the upcoming 2010 IFAF Women's World Championship.  A group of senior IFAF members will meet with city officials to consider the opportunity for future initiatives and events to be held in Sydney.


"We are delighted to welcome IFAF members from around the world to Sydney and show them some warm New South Wales hospitality," said Gridiron Australia Chairman MICHAEL RYAN.  "Gridiron is growing in popularity in our country and hosting the IFAF Congress is a significant step forward for us.  We have an opportunity to introduce IFAF to what we have to offer and to join an illustrious list of previous host cities."

Case Reserve Mather Arch ...

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In 2008, the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Association announced that it would gift its endowment to Case Western Reserve University, in support of a number of initiatives.  One of those areas was christened today before the Spartan softball game against John Carroll.

University President Barbara R. Snyder cut a ceremonial ribbon prior to the first pitch, opening a new archway to arguably one of the finest NCAA Division III softball stadiums in the nation, Mather Park.

"The women of the alumnae board of Flora Stone Mather College are pleased that we were able to help provide such a grand stadium for the softball team," said Mather Alumnae President, Sandra Vodanoff.  "We hope the University community enjoys this beautiful facility that bears the Mather name."

Fifteen years ago the first Spartan softball team took to the diamond at old Finnigan Fields.  It was a great day for women's athletics and one of the people responsible for it happens to be in the same position he held with the University at that time.

Glenn Nicholls, Vice President of Student Affairs, with the help of former Senior Women's Administrator/Associate Athletic Director, Nancy Gray, and former Athletic Director David Hutter, PhD, worked together to add varsity softball in 1996.   

"I can't imagine a better group of women to be a part of this on both ends," said Nicholls, who has been at the University since 1986.  "It makes you feel good about having a first-rate facility for our great student-athletes and the alumnae of Mather College."

"To have a facility for a sport that is only played by female athletes named for Mather is really special," Nicholls explained.  "Mather Park is a perfect name for it."

Another amazing female that will be honored during tomorrow's ceremonies will be Glenn's wife Peggy.  Thanks to a generous donation made by the Nicholls family the state-of-art press box at Mather Park will be named the Peggy Nicholls Press Box, in honor of Nicholls' late wife.

"When the opportunity (naming rights) came along, it seemed like a great way to support women's athletics on campus and remember Peggy. It's a symbolic way that she could look on with approval for what we are trying to do on campus."

Peggy lost a hard fought battle to Leukemia in the winter of 2007.  She grew up in an era that did not provide opportunities to play sports in high school or college, despite the fact she was an outstanding athlete.

"I consider myself extremely fortunate to have Peggy in my life," said Nicholls, who was married to her for nearly 40 years.  "One of the things she was absolutely committed to was that other women, including our two daughters (Heidi & Christy), would have the chance to do things that she did not."  

Peggy was a longtime mathematics teacher and was teaching tenth-grade algebra and geometry at local Independence High School at the time she fell ill. Her road to that career wasn't easy.  When Peggy was a high school student in the early 1960s the message she heard was that girls can't do math.

"She was actually steered away from math," Nicholls explained.  "That always bothered her, so she went on to get both a bachelor's and master's in math and became a high school math teacher.  She was not going to tolerate anyone messaging to a girl you cannot do math."

"It gave her particular pride I think when some of her students ended up coming to Case Western Reserve," continued Nicholls.  "That kind of fusion of opportunity for women, whether it was intellectual or athletic, was very important to her." 

Lake Erie baseball ...

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After Mercyhurst (16-14) took a 6-5 lead with three runs in the fourth, freshman ace Adam Beach (Vermillion, Ohio/Vermillion), pitching in relief, escaped a jam and get out of the inning. After that, the trio of relievers Michael Backes (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard)Pat Sinko (Hudson, Ohio/Trinity) and Ryan Rua (Amherst, Ohio/Amherst) combined to limit the Lakers to just one hit over the final three innings with five strikeouts.
Beach earned the win to improve to 4-0, while Rua picked up his first save. The Storm had just seven hits in the game, but took advantage of 11 walks by Mercyhurst pitchers in the nightcap. Toth and Mosbarger each drove in two runs. The Storm staff held the Lakers to just five hits.
Thanks to a handful of walks and an error, the Storm scored three runs in the first without a hit. Mercyhurst rallied with two in the bottom of the inning and another run in the second. And after the Storm scored twice in the fourth on singles by Toth and junior Brandon James (Mentor, Ohio/Mentor), the Lakers responded with three in the fourth to take the 6-5 lead.
Lake Erie was able to pull off the comeback in game two after nearly accomplishing the feat earlier in the day.   
The Lakers led game one 5-0 after a four-run fourth inning, but the Storm rallied late. Lake Erie plated three runs in the sixth with sophomore Jae Leeworthy (Newton Falls, Ohio/Newton Falls) delivering a two-run single and Blood following with a run-scoring single.
Sophomore Rua singled in a run in the seventh and advanced to third with one out, but reliever Jordan Backes came in and struck out the final two hitters to save the game.
Leeworthy, Rua and Toth each had two hits for the Storm in the game.   
Lake Erie opens a three-game series at the University of Charleston (W. Va.) on Friday, April 9, at 3 p.m.